Facebook pledges extremism purge after Unilever boycott threat

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Keith Weed, Unilever's chief marketing officer, is quoted saying: "We need to redefine what is responsible business in the digital age because for all of the good the tech companies are doing, there's some unintended consequences that now need addressing".

"But they do care when they see their brands being placed next to ads funding terror, or exploiting children", he said while speaking at the Interactive Advertising Bureau annual leadership meet in California, the daily reported. Nor was it the first time he has called for diversity and progressive social engagement as goals. If other do not get involved in the regulating of the platforms, then threats will only begin to make any impact once - if ever - Facebook and Google experience real pressure from the likes of Twitter, Snapchat, and Amazon in the advertising space.

Not invest in platforms that do not protect children or which create division in society.

Hindustan Unilever is following its parent, global consumer goods brand Unilever, by threatening to pull advertisements from online platforms such as Facebook and Google for failing to weed out unreliable and harmful content.

After a cut in on-line advertising spend - mainly made up of agency fees - in the first half of previous year, Unilever increased digital spend in the second half. "It is in the digital media industry's interest to listen and act on this", he said. This potentially opens the door for TV broadcasters to lure ad dollars away from digital platforms, as TV is often seen as a transparent, brand-safe environment, albeit more expensive than digital advertising.

Weed added: "Fake news, racism, sexism, terrorists spreading messages of hate, toxic content directed at children - parts of the internet we have ended up with is a million miles from where we thought it would take us".

One of Brazil's top newspapers, Folha de S. Paulo, said last week it would stop publishing on its Facebook page after the social network announced it would give personal content more visibility.

PwC India Partner and Leader for Entertainment and Media Frank D'Souza said that online platforms such as Google and Facebook will have to take greater control of content.

"Unilever, as a trusted advertiser, do not want to advertise on platforms which do not make a positive contribution to society", Weed said. The goal: to increase brand safety and reduce fraud through technology that can provide reliable measurement metrics. "I very much believe we all need to be part of the solution", Weed said, possibly taking a swipe at P&G's Marc Pritchard, who, at the same conference past year, made considerable waves after issuing a call to action for the company's digital ad partners to achieve third-party accreditation by the end of 2017 or else risk losing its business. They do care about fraudulent practice and fake news. For all that, they still dominate the advertising landscape and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.